National Summer Camp Programme: “Extremely Successful”

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Youth Minister, Stephen Lashley????

The National Summer Camps, which culminate this Friday, have been described by Youth Minister, Stephen Lashley, as "extremely successful".

He gave this assessment during an interview at the inaugural National Summer Camp Cultural Extravaganza Competition, held yesterday at the Wildey Gymnasium.

We have had in my estimation, a successful camp….The Government is very committed to the National Camp programme.?? It evolved out of a need to ensure that we can respond during the summer vacation in particular, to the needs of our young people. ??It has succeeded in keeping them safe but while keeping them safe, we have developed programme in which they can be involved in productive activity," he stated.

??Mr. Lashley explained that his Ministry was able to solve a number of issue, since meetings were held weekly with camp directors to review activities and to plan ahead.?? "I am happy to say that our systems have worked in terms of dealing with the issues.?? There was a rapid response mechanism in terms of reporting into the Ministry, issues as they occurred and of course the systems in the Ministry would kick in to make sure that problems were solved on an expeditious basis," he maintained.

The Youth Minister noted that to further enhance the programme, camp caterers and school principals would be incorporated in the planning of next year’s camp programme. "They have a role to play… I also want to integrate the principals of the schools because most of the camp sites are located at schools and I believe that we have to find a way to involve the principals at a very early stage so that we can ensure that the schools are available," he said.

Minister Lashley also called on corporate Barbados to offer assistance to the National Summer Camp Programme.?? "The camp programme is not just for the Government.?? We would welcome the assistance of corporate Barbados in terms of supporting particularly the supplies… that is very expensive and I believe that this programme now has been sufficiently ventilated to have a more fitting response from corporate Barbados to come forward and assist financially… We have 62 camps spread across the island and what I would like to see is in particular areas is that businesses. would respond and even adopt the camps, to signal that they want to be one of the partners involved in assisting the camps," he appealed.??

Next year will see the introduction of more specialist camps, in the areas of art, culture and sports.???? Mr. Lashley revealed that the Ministry was in discussion with at least one NBA player and, "hopefully, if all goes well, we will have a specialist camp in the area of basketball."?? The Youth Minister also called on persons and groups who had an interest in facilitating a specialist camp for next year "to signal that at a very early stage and wherever possible we will seek to integrate those efforts."

This year’s programme included 62 camps across four zones and attracted 9,400 campers.??lbayley@barbados.gov.bb??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

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